Air Operations: (No. 460 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB296), Germany, 28 January 1944

Date: 27-28 January 1944
Target: Berlin
Total Force: Dispatched – 530, Attacking – 481
RAAF Force: No. 460 Dispatched – 18, Attacking – 18; No. 463 Dispatched – 16, Attacking – 16; No. 467 Dispatched – 15, Attacking – 14
Tons of Bombs Dropped: 1,761
Total Aircraft Lost: 33
RAAF Aircraft Lost: No. 460 – 3, No. 463 – 1; No. 467 – 2

For the next major raid on 27th-28th January further measures were taken to defeat early contact by enemy fighters. A long route over the North Sea was chosen in conjunction with a diversionary attack on Heligoland and support action by Mosquitos which dropped false route markers and fighter were waiting over Berlin and were not entirely shaken off by a sharp turn incorporated in the withdrawal route. This defensive manoeuvre was indeed criticised by Australians as greatly increasing the risk of collision, several aircraft being forced to dive away from other Lancasters approaching Berlin somewhat off-track. Fighter activity also caused some bunching of the Lancasters over Berlin and Squadron Leader Brill of No. 463 had his aircraft severely damaged by incendiaries falling from another aircraft. He instructed his crew to abandon the Lancaster, but then regained control and cancelled the order. Losses were again high, especially for the RAAF squadrons, which lost six of forty-eight Lancasters sent out, but with the glow of large fires reflected on the clouds the airmen were confident that the attack had been successful. This was later borne out by gloomy and hysterical German radio fulminations against this “terror raid on the residential districts of Berlin”.

Extracts from Herington, J. (John) (406545) Air War Against Germany and Italy 1939-1943, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1954 – Pages 643, 644-5

The crew reported experiencing severe fuel problems and Operations was not able to establish the position of the aircraft. All became Prisoners of War.

The crew Members of JB296 were:

Flying Officer Alastair Kennedy DFM (403619) (Navigator) PoW Discharged from the RAAF: 26 October 1945
Pilot Officer Colin William McLeod (403071) (Air Bomber) PoW Discharged from the RAAF: 12 December 1945
Flight Sergeant James Nairn (1347054) (RAFVR) (Flight Engineer) PoW
Pilot Officer Alfred George Osborne DFM (403678) (Air Gunner) Discharged from the RAAF: 2 November 1945
Flying Officer John Alty Rydings (427356) (Air Gunner) PoW Discharged from the RAAF: 29 January 1946
Flying Officer Arthur Reginald Britton Schrock (404589) (Wireless Air Gunner) PoW Discharged from the RAAF: 1 November 1945
Squadron Leader Lorraine Joseph Simpson DFC (401542) (Pilot) PoW Discharged from the RAAF: 18 February 1946

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JB637 (Warrant Officer Richard John Power (409590) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.

No. 460 Squadron lost Lancaster JA860 (Flight Sergeant William Robertson McLachlan (414947) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.

No. 463 Squadron lost Lancaster ME563 (Flying Officer Alan James Durham Leslie (409721) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ME575 (Pilot Officer Stephen Charles Grugeon (413855) (Pilot)) on 27 January 1944.

No. 467 Squadron lost Lancaster ED539 (Pilot Officer Cecil O’Brien (420250) (Pilot)) on 28 January 1944.


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Chorley W R, Royal Air Force Bomber Command Losses of the Second World War – Volume 5 Aircraft and Aircrew Losses 1944, Midland Counties Publications, 1997
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll


Firkins, P. C. (Peter Charles) (441386) Strike and Return, Westward Ho Publishing City Beach WA, 1985

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